How did the Scottsboro Case illustrate the different strategies of the NAACP and the Communist Party in the 1930s. Compare the reports on the case from newspaper accounts with the other documents. How are these primary source documents reflective of the events surrounding the case?
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The Scottsboro Boys of 1931 were nine African-American teenagers accused in Alabama in 1931 of raping two white women on a train. When the case hit the newspapers, the NAACP began to follow the events but they did not have a representative actively involved in supporting the Scottsboro Boys, nor were they especially convinced of their innocence. It was, in fact, the Communist Party who came to the boys' defence: they hired lawyers to take the case to the Supreme Court and staged mass demonstrations in protest at their arrest. Thus, by the time the NAACP got involved, the Communist strategy was already well underway. As the case unfolded, the two organizations began attempts to discredit each other - you should look for examples of this in primary sources. but it was the Communists who won the day and provided the boys' legal defence. It was not until 1935 that the two organisations were able to come together with the founding of the Scottsboro Defense Committee.
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